In After Earth, one thousand years after cataclysmic events forced humanity’s escape from Earth, Nova Prime has become mankind’s new home. Legendary General Cypher Raige (played by Will Smith) returns from an extended tour of duty to his estranged family, ready to be a father to his 13-year-old son, Kitai (played by Jaden Smith). When an asteroid storm damages Cypher and Kitai’s craft, they crash-land on a now unfamiliar and dangerous Earth. As his father lies dying in the cockpit, Kitai must trek across the hostile terrain to recover their rescue beacon. His whole life, Kitai has wanted nothing more than to be a soldier like his father. Today, he gets his chance.
My biggest gripe with some people nowadays, specifically some film goers, is that many of them choose to believe whatever they hear about a certain film. And although all films get different treatment by different directors, nine times out of ten many people will follow the hate flock and push narratives that undermine the potential for those looking to enjoy a good movie. Partly, such was the case with Dredd 3D, a film whose predecessor, despite how spectacular it looks, got the butt end of every fanboy and girl who has ever had an opinion about a film. And ultimately, Dredd 3D suffered the same fate.
Disturbingly though, I am noticing a pattern of this behavior when it comes to certain films and filmmakers. Unfortunately, After Earth is no exception to this behavior, as I look at a lot of opinions by people who either claim to have seen the movie and hated it, or by people simply judging the film based on its trailer and leaving it at that.
I almost passed up the opportunity to see the film until two weeks ago when I met up with a stunt performer friend of mine from France, Anthony Pho who was in town for the very last weekend of May and wanted to see After Earth before he left. We hung out, saw the film, and simply put, we enjoyed it. (You can view our hilarity by clicking HERE)
Time passes, and humanity finds itself home, where the story begins, and ultimately we are led to observe a tense relationship between Cypher and his son, Kitai who burdens himself with the death of his sister and tries to becoming a Ranger in order to make his father proud, ultimately to be disappointed and sent home without rank. And with Cypher's wife, Faia (Sophie Okonedo) providing the only voice of reason for her husband to help understand where Kitai is at this point in his life, it is then that Cypher reaches out to his son to join him on a space expedition.
M. Night Shyamalan is a filmmaker with his own vision for things and it's a particular kind of vision. He isn't Joseph Kosinscki, he isn't Francis Lawrence. Nor is he Neil Blomkamp or Justin Lin, for that matter. So while he may share a different approach to telling a story, his approach is something that really does work for the movie as a fun, thrilling and PG adventure.
As an added thought here, while I was not too familiar with the animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, I still enjoyed the live-action adaptation. And it's unfortunate we may never see a continuation of it. But we need to. That's just me here.
Did you see After Earth yet? If so, what did you think?